The Draconid, Taurid, and Orionid Meteor Showers Are Coming This Fall

Mike Lewinski, Flickr //CC BY 2.0
Mike Lewinski, Flickr //CC BY 2.0

Temperatures are dropping and days are getting shorter in many parts of the U.S., but there are still plenty of reasons to get outside this fall—not the least of which are the three meteor showers that will be active in the coming weeks. Here's what you need to know to catch the Draconid, Orionid, and Taurid meteor showers in October and November.

When to See the Draconid Meteor Shower

October is an eventful time for stargazers. Throughout the month, you'll have a chance of spotting a shooting star when you step outside at night. In early October, look for the Draconids. The shower lasts from October 6 to the 10th and peaks on the nights of the 7th and 8th this year. The meteors appear to originate high in the sky near the head of the constellation Draco around nightfall, which makes the Draconids one of the few meteor showers that's better viewed in the evening rather than the early morning hours. It's not a particularly active shower, peaking with five shooting stars per hour in most years, but it has been known to produce thousands of meteors per hour.

When to see the Orionid Meteor Shower

After looking for the Draconids, check out the Orionid meteor shower in late October. The shower, which appears to emerge from the constellation Orion's upraised "arm," lasts nearly the whole month—from October 2 to November 7—but it peaks on October 21 and the 22nd in 2020. This event is best viewed in the early morning hours before sunrise. On the 21st and 22nd, the waxing crescent moon will set in the evenings, providing dark skies and optimal viewing conditions. Up to 20 shooting stars will be visible per hour when skies are darkest.

When to see the South and North Taurid Meteor Showers

The South Taurids are also active throughout October, but the best time to see them from a vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere is early November. (The North Taurids, visible mainly from the Northern Hemisphere, peak around November 11-12.) From the night of November 4 to the predawn hours of November 5, the shower will be at its zenith. Only around five shooting stars per hour will be visible at this time, and the bright waning gibbous moon will make them even more difficult to spot. But the South Taurids are still worth a late-night trip to your backyard; this shower is famous for its fireballs, which are spectacularly bright meteors. Any meteor brighter than Venus in the night sky is technically a fireball. No matter what type of meteor shower you're aiming to see, you have a reason to look up this autumn.

[h/t Earthsky]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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Uranus Reaches Opposition on Halloween in 2020

Christine Schmitt, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Christine Schmitt, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Uranus is roughly 1.75 billion miles away from Earth, which makes it difficult to spot without a telescope most nights. But on Saturday, October 31, the seventh planet from the sun will be worth looking for. Uranus reaches opposition that night, making it appear extra bright in the night sky.

What Is Uranus at Opposition?

An opposition occurs when the Earth falls perfectly between another planet and the sun. When this happens, the sun's light appears to fully illuminate the planet's surface, boosting its brightness level to the maximum.

Uranus reaches opposition on October 31 in 2020. During this event, Uranus will hit a limiting magnitude of 5.86, which is about the minimum brightness for what's visible with the naked eye.

How to Look for Uranus at Opposition

Spotting Uranus at opposition will be slightly more difficult in 2020 than in years past. The phenomenon coincides with a full moon that will make dimmer stars and planets—including Uranus—harder to see in the night sky. The planet sits in the constellation Aries, which regrettably appears close to the moon for most of the night.

Uranus should appear as a small, blue-green disc when using a telescope. Even if you have trouble spotting the seventh planet, it will still be worth checking out the night sky on October 31: Halloween this year coincides with a rare blue moon.